Naturalness by Law

Noûs (forthcoming)
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Abstract

The intuitive distinction between natural and unnatural properties (e.g., green vs. grue) informs our theorizing not only in fundamental physics, but also in non-fundamental domains. This paper develops a reductive account of this broad notion of naturalness that covers non-fundamental properties: for a property to be natural, I propose, is for it to figure in a law of nature. After motivating the account, I defend it from a potential circularity charge. I argue that a suitably broad notion of lawhood can be defined independently of naturalness, if we help ourselves to the notion of a fundamental physical property. I end by showing how the notions of naturalness and lawhood that my account delivers help illuminate a number of other important philosophical notions, like causation, reference/meaning, and rational induction.

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Veronica Gómez Sánchez
New York University

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Reason, Truth and History.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - Cambridge University Press.
Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.

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